November 2010 Archives
I don't know if this piece of paper will hold up or if anyone will find it, but maybe it will help DEP understand what they're up against.
I joined up ten years ago. I'd survived three tours of duty overseas, figured God must be on my side, and was tired of looking at concrete and drywall. DEP meant adventure, something else to look at, and survivor benefits that might let my son's saxophone get noticed by the ones who matter. He has dreams - I never really cared, I guess.
This mission started out as the usual. Satellite told us there was a problem. Permanent buildings in the 50-100 mile range from the reservoir, apparently a vandal settlement too close in, pushing the edge of the bombing zone.
Those bastards in HQ had given in to media pressure for some kind of "fair warning" when settlements were on the edge, so we set off in the chopper to take a look and drop some pamphlets. We figured they could read, but the chopper let us get in with loudspeakers too.
It was a bad idea. There were lots of 'em down there, and they ran around making it pretty clear they'd seen and heard us. The wind was picking up a bit, but suddenly the tail of the chopper - I don't know, it seemed to fall off and we were spinning on our way down. Maybe it broke, maybe they shot it somehow. Chuck died at the bottom, but they pulled me out.
I warned them that messing with the DEP was a bad idea, and that the best they could do was leave me with the chopper and get the hell out of there. "Take me with you," I said, "and you'll get bombed wherever you go."
They just grinned, took my communicator, and boarded me up in this room. They sure built it tight for something thrown together in a summer under tree cover. I smell a bit of smoke - maybe they're still around, or maybe they just left the fires going to make it seem like that.
There's the plane - it won't be long now. DEP - take care of my wife and kid!
"So picking up from last week, when was the Last Legislature? Michelle?"
"It was in 2035. They all got infighted."
"Close! It was in 2035, and a majority of them were indicted for corruption. The HSR contracts and their secret stockholdings made it look really bad for them when the project collapsed. The prosecutors got the lists of who'd been given what. The New York State Legislature had no clear process for replacing all of those people, and couldn't conduct business."
"Anyone know what happened next? Samuel?"
"Governor Yerkes had a convention."
"That's right. Instead of electing a new legislature, voters elected delegates. Those delegates gave up completely on the legislature and gave us the Trio instead. Can anyone tell me how the Trio gets chosen?"
"We pick one every three years. But they can't live too close together."
"That's right, Marcy. Members of the Trio have to have three million people between their homes, and they have to have lived in those homes for at least ten years. They can't move around to run from a different area. Can anyone explain what the Trio is in charge of? Joel?"
"The Trio makes state law, runs the bureaucracy, and acts as the top court in the state."
"Are you reading that out of your textbook? No? All right, that's correct. The old functions of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches are concentrated in these three seats. Each one directs different parts of the government, but they all have to come together to agree on a budget. How do we keep them from getting too powerful? Michelle?"
"They have to take a year off the Trio when their term ends. Only two have ever gotten back on, I think."
"Well, we may see a third this November, but yes, that's right. Between the distance rule and the one-term rule we've had regular changes of power."
"Yeah, but Upstate only gets in once in a while."
"Joel, I didn't call on you that time."
"I know, but why do they have to do that to us? Why did they only say three million people apart when the state has 25 million people?"
"That question won't be on the test, Joel."
If you'd like to submit a story, please contact me.